lever

noun
le·​ver | \ ˈle-vər How to pronounce lever (audio) , ˈlē- How to pronounce lever (audio) \

Definition of lever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : a bar used for prying or dislodging something
b : an inducing or compelling force : tool use food as a political leverTime
2a : a rigid piece that transmits and modifies force or motion when forces are applied at two points and it turns about a third specifically : a rigid bar used to exert a pressure or sustain a weight at one point of its length by the application of a force at a second and turning at a third on a fulcrum
b : a projecting piece by which a mechanism (see mechanism sense 1) is operated or adjusted

lever

verb
levered; levering\ ˈle-​və-​riŋ How to pronounce levering (audio) , ˈlē-​ ; ˈlev-​riŋ , ˈlēv-​ \

Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to pry, raise, or move with or as if with a lever
2 : to operate (a device) in the manner of a lever

Illustration of lever

Illustration of lever

Noun

lever 2a

In the meaning defined above

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Synonyms for lever

Synonyms: Verb

jimmy, prize, pry

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Examples of lever in a Sentence

Noun

They used their money as a lever to gain political power.

Verb

He levered the rock out of the hole. the workers used crowbars to lever the heavy stone block into its new position
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Ron Burkle, who has long been obsessed with gaining control over the hidden levers of power and celebrity, is like a boy who can’t resist playing with fire. Ben Widdicombe, Town & Country, "Why It Makes Perfect Sense That Billionaire Ron Burkle Would Buy The Enquirer," 11 Apr. 2019 In New York, actress Cynthia Nixon lost her Democratic primary battle against incumbent Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a formidable incumbent expert at working the levers of the party machinery. Christina A. Cassidy, The Seattle Times, "More than 20 states have never had a woman as governor," 29 Oct. 2018 Having a conventional transmission gives the Ioniq a more-conventional and sportier driving experience, particularly when the gearshift lever is pushed to the left to engage the Sport mode. G. Chambers Williams Iii, Houston Chronicle, "Hyundai’s 2018 Ioniq Hybrid has starting price of $22,200," 1 July 2018 At a filling station near a large park in Eastern Caracas, a lock had been placed on the water lever. Patricia Laya, Bloomberg.com, "The Army Took Over the Spigots, Forcing Thirsty Venezuelans to Pay," 25 June 2018 One lever Pandora is trying to pull on this front is a more flexible, personalized ad experience that results in a more tangible value exchange between listener and advertiser. Cherie Hu, Billboard, "Spotify vs. Pandora: Which Radio Competitor Is Winning at the Ad-Supported Game?," 1 June 2018 Working under the radar, national Democratic groups can certainly pull some levers that help particular candidates, and may even flip some purple districts. Ken Stern, The Hive, "“There Will Be a Backlash”: Will the Bernie Democrats Risk the House?," 14 May 2018 The fuel flow control lever was found in the off position. Sarah Jorgensen, CNN, "NTSB releases preliminary report on New York City helicopter crash," 26 Mar. 2018 Instead of a gear lever, there is a row of buttons on the center console below the climate controls. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "Review: GMC Terrain gives you the ride you want—at a price," 23 Dec. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

What was once the domain of a handful of big players like AerCap and GE Capital Aviation Services, levering insider knowledge of planes and airlines, is now a patchwork of 20 or so smaller lessors trading similar aircraft at ever lower margins. Jon Sindreu, WSJ, "Aircraft Investors Should Be More Grounded," 25 Jan. 2019 Were it to lever up to two times Ebitda, Altria could spend another $6 billion on top of its Cronos investment without upsetting investors. Carol Ryan, WSJ, "Marijuana Won’t Keep Marlboro Man Buzzing," 7 Dec. 2018 All would reduce the incentive and ability to lever up the housing stock. Emily Stewart, Vox, "How close are we to another financial crisis? 8 experts weigh in.," 18 Sep. 2018 No matter which levers Mr. Lampert pulled, Sears racked up hefty losses. Suzanne Kapner, WSJ, "Sears Reshaped America, From Kenmore to Allstate," 15 Oct. 2018 The hat was then turned 90 degrees and levered onto the statue’s head and the ramp was removed, forming wings on either side of the moai that still exist. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "The Clever Way the Easter Island Statues Got Hats," 13 June 2018 That means the hats must have been levered upward and then tilted down onto the head of the statue. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "How does a preindustrial society put a 13-ton hat on a statue?," 5 June 2018 If the old washer is hard to remove, try levering it off with a screwdriver. The Editors Of House Beautiful, House Beautiful, "How to Fix a Clogged Sink and Leaky Faucet," 11 Feb. 2015 Banks are ramping up a business that was popular before the financial crisis—offering investors ways to lever up sometimes illiquid and complex investments to amplify their returns. Christopher Whittall, WSJ, "Banks to Funds: Have Some Leverage With That Deal," 17 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lever.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of lever

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1876, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for lever

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Anglo-French levier, lever, from lever to raise, from Latin levare, from levis light in weight — more at light

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Statistics for lever

Last Updated

14 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for lever

The first known use of lever was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for lever

lever

noun

English Language Learners Definition of lever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a strong bar that is used to lift and move something heavy
: a bar or rod that is used to operate or adjust something on a machine, vehicle, device, etc.
: something used to achieve a desired result

lever

verb

English Language Learners Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

: to lift or move (something) with a lever

lever

noun
le·​ver | \ ˈle-vər How to pronounce lever (audio) , ˈlē-\

Kids Definition of lever

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a bar used to pry or move something
2 : a stiff bar for lifting a weight at one point of its length by pressing or pulling at a second point while the bar turns on a support
3 : a bar or rod used to run or adjust something a gearshift lever

lever

verb
levered; levering

Kids Definition of lever (Entry 2 of 2)

: to raise or move with a bar

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More from Merriam-Webster on lever

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with lever

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for lever

Spanish Central: Translation of lever

Nglish: Translation of lever for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of lever for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about lever

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